Change and creation: historic landscape character 1950-2000

Bradley, A., V. Buchli, G. Fairclough, D. Hicks, J. Miller & J. Schofield, 2004, Change and creation: historic landscape character 1950-2000, English Heritage

  • Author : Bradley, A., V. Buchli, G. Fairclough, D. Hicks, J. Miller & J. Schofield
  • Year : 2004
  • Title English : Change and creation: historic landscape character 1950-2000
  • Pages : 10
  • Publisher : English Heritage
  • Abstract in English : From: -- Understanding how the 20th century landscape is perceived and how it connects to the past, is an urgent task. One reason is that the structures and buildings of that fifty year period are disappearing quickly, so that memories are already being revised and lost. More importantly, it is difficult to understand the world we live in today withoutappreciating the legacy of the recent past. We must study the landscape and characterise the way it has changed and been created. This is not to say that we must protect all - or perhaps any - of the remains of the last fifty years. Indeed, if our conservation and management policies are to be sustainable, they must allow change to continue, rather than wipe the sheet clean every generation. Our decisions about what to lose, what to retain, and what to build anew, will be better, if they are informed by careful understanding. In recent decades, conservation has become a driver of change in its own right, providing channels for public education, economic development and regeneration. By the end of the last century, through professional and popular interest, people had begun to engage very much more fully with the past, to care for it, and to make it part of the present. Time Team, the BBC’s ‘Restoration’ and The Heritage Lottery Fund are evidence of this. Power of Place (Historic Environment Review, 2000) and A Force for our Future (DCMS, 2001), encapsulate this mood in public policy. The physical structures of the later 20th century survive in massive quantities across the contemporary English landscape, most still in their original use. Do these remains ‘matter’? How are they perceived and remembered? For many people, they are unwelcome, representing the destruction of older landscapes. Yet the 20th century has shaped who we are, and is already part of our ‘heritage’. When should we start to value it? Do we leave the survival of the 20th century to ‘Nature’, so that our descendants can preserve whatever rarities survive? Or do we become active agents in deciding what is passed on and why? A database compiled for English Heritage has demonstrated the extensive scale of current historical and archaeological research on the 20th century (Frearson, 2004). Now a new English Heritage programme – Change and Creation - aims to understand the later 20th century landscape: to assess the processes of change and creation in our urban and rural landscapes. It will be the first national landscape-scale appreciation of later 20th century heritage. 1. Change and creation -- The European Landscape Convention defined landscape as an area, as perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors. This programme views landscape as both material and perceived. We are interested in people’s feelings about a place. The programme presents the opportunity to address what ‘landscape’ needs to mean to archaeologists, and how it can be used and valued. 2. Although the programme’s initial perspective is that of archaeology, the aim is to integrate a diversity of approaches. The programme will use the methods of a range of disciplines, and will engage with many perceptions of England’s 20thCentury landscape, recognising the diverse, powerful and often contested nature of the very recent and contemporary past. Partnerships will be formed between professional, academic and community organisations. Various techniques for research and representation will be combined: film, photography, artistic interventions, oral histories, interviews, participant observation and public involvement, alongside archaeological fieldwork and more traditional studies of maps and aerial photographs. The purpose of this document is to: �� Raise awareness and interest in the programme, by asking questions about the nature and value of the very recent heritage in the landscape. We think the photographs in this document raise some of these questions, questions that confront academics, cultural heritage resource managers and the public alike. �� Provide information on the background, aims and possibilities of the programme �� Promote the exchange of ideas and inspire the development of new projects which will contribute to the programme and drive it forward At the core of the Change and Creation programme lie two key principles: �� that the material remains of the 20th century do matter; and �� that we can value, and sometimes perhaps celebrate, later 20th century changes to the landscape, as well as being concerned with losses. It seems wrong to view the later 20th century merely as a pollutant, something that has devalued or destroyed what went before. The process of landscape change – its time-depth, or ‘stratigraphy’ – is recognised and celebrated for earlier periods. The 20th century should be no different.
  • Outline in English : "This leaflet sets out a first appreciation of the nature and value of the later 20th century landscape, and proposes a programme .... to suggest what might be done to understand it better and to devise ways to manage it in the future.
  • Comments/Notes : A public participation programme is planned following the publication